Before Mia was born, and even in her early years, I was adamantly opposed to anything “princess”. My ideas about princesses had come from watching Disney films and reading (awful) Disney books, in which the (usually) white, blond, blue-eyed, helpless girl is rescued by a strong and capable prince. She has nothing going for her but her good looks and status and can’t do much of anything because she is wearing a hoopskirt. Please.
Through the years, I have been stubborn. I have avoided princesses as much as I possibly could. Yes, I know this sounds terrible and controlling and mean…but let me explain. Although I haven’t encouraged any princess-type play, I haven’t discouraged it, either. Above my own ideals, I value freedom. I want Mia to feel free and safe to explore and play whatever her heart desires. So I let her be, and from the sidelines, encourage discussion about those underlying meanings, more or less to make myself feel better.
Despite her mother’s stubbornness, Mia has inevitably learned about this world of princesses. Though she has never seen a Disney princess movie and maybe doesn’t quite understand the princess stereotype yet, she has acquired a few little figurines, learned their names, and suddenly loves everything princess.
So I found a compromise. An answer to please us both. Something we could love together, while keeping this imaginary world of princesses alive. Let me introduce Rosamond, the Princess of Colchester!
Princess Rosamond is the main character from the book, The Well at the End of the World by Robert D. San Souci. The story and illustrations are equally beautiful, and best of all, Rosamond is a tough, intelligent, and selfless princess. The story is much like Cinderella, but with a contemporary twist; Rosamond has a cruel step-mother and step-sister, but with her loving heart and wise mind, she doesn’t let them determine her fate or the fate of her ill father. When Rosamond reaches the well at the end of the world on her quest to save her father, she is rewarded for her good heart with riches and a promise of true love. The riches mean little to her; the greatest reward is that her father becomes well again. When she has healed her father, she shares her riches to help the needy. In the end, Rosamond gets the ultimate reward and falls in love with a prince, and for all the right reasons: they laugh together, they enjoy reading books to each other by the fire, and most of all, they love each others company. Now *there* is a princess I don’t mind my daughter looking up to!
Today, Mia made a crown just like Princess Rosamond’s. She wore the crown along with her fanciest dress and took loving care of her little sister (even though little sis was tugging at her dress and trying to eat her crown)….because that is what princesses do!
The Well at the End of the World
by Robert D. San Souci